A pilot program performed this past summer by DCI illustrated to Hingham town officials and residents that a road diet project near the Route 3A Rotary would sufficiently support traffic even during the summer rush to nearby Nantasket Beach. By slowing the speeds along the stretch, the changes would also improve safety along the stretch of road from the Hingham Rotary to the intersection of George Washington Boulevard and Rockland Street.

DCI Manager of Transportation Wayne Keefner presented at a meeting of the Hingham Route 3A Task Force, explaining that “a single lane in each direction can handle the traffic volume, despite concerns expressed before the pilot program was implemented that narrowing the roadway in this way would result in chaos.”

The pilot program was conducted in July at the height of the summer traffic to and from Nantasket Beach.

The Quincy Patriot Ledger reported, “Both neighbors and drivers backed up the finding. Keith Jermyn of Kilby Street said people were speeding through his neighborhood to avoid the lane reduction on Summer Street, while Hingham resident Ed Rothe acknowledged that he started using Kilby Street as a cut through during the pilot and continued to use the route after it stopped. Chief Olsson said he would look into monitoring speed on Kilby more closely going forward.”

According to Wicked Local Hingham, Rte. 3A Task Force Chairman Judy Sneath told the group, “The ‘road diet’ was a success. We found out what we needed to know, but there’s still work to be done.”

The news website added, “If permanent changes are approved, the one lane in both directions would likely remain, but the travel lanes would be wider than they were under the road diet, and the now-removed delineators would be replaced with lane markings. There would be a median strip between the two lanes to help avoid head-on collisions. Other options include leaving the stretch as is or a three-lane alternative with two lanes coming out of Hull and one lane on the other side of the median. Another is to narrow that corridor to two lanes from one end to the other without widening it back to four at major intersections.”

It added, “The purpose of temporarily narrowing the four-lane road to one travel lane in each direction was to measure in real-time traffic patterns and impacts and to validate proposed long-term safety solutions for the busy corridor, where speeding and car accidents posed serious safety concerns before the road diet was implemented.”

The delineators that were used to narrow the roadway were removed in late July, and that stretch is back to normal until a final decision about whether to proceed with a permanent road diet is made.